16 February 2010

Pancake Day...Sweet Potato Curried Latkes

Sweet Potato Curried Latkes

Today is Pancake Day and the day before Lent. Let's celebrate!!!! Shrove Tuesday is often referred to as "Pancake Day" because perishables like eggs and dairy products, which are generally prohibited during Lent, have to be used up. In Great Britian, Northern Ireland and several other countries around the world, Pancake Day is celebrated with fun, games, and of course a lot of eating.

But part of the pleasure of blogging is that you learn something new each and every day and perhaps take on new traditions. Mardi Gras is French for "Fat Tuesday" (in English tradition, Shrove Tuesday), again referring to the practice of the last night of eating richer, fatty foods before the ritual fasting of the Lenten season which starts on Ash Wednesday . New Orleans got a pretty early start with party-making this year, especially since the New Orleans Saints won their very first Super Bowl title this season. The partying continues with the Mardi Gras, or literally, Fat Tuesday that has effectively become  a very indulgant street party right before fasting and/or repenting on Ash Wednesday when the Lenten season begins. Pancake Day is also mirrored with what’s known as Paczki Day (pronounced much like ‘punch-key’). This celebration is most known among the Polish, who are bound by tradition to ’splurge’ by using up all their flour, butter, and most other food rations prone to spoilage right before the season of Lent, when they’re expected to fast and refrain from eating.

We always celebrated Pancake Day when we were kids, so, in the naivety of a child I thought it was a British thing. What kid, or adult for that matter, wouldn't want to have pancakes for supper with loads of local maple syrup!!!! You don't have to be British, Catholic, Polish, follow Lent or be in New Orleans to have some delicious pancakes for supper on Shrove Tuesday!!I don't let that get in my way!!!! Of course I am not partying it up as they are in New Orleans either today being mid week...in Canada... in winter...

So depending on where you are be sure to enjoy the festivities... Pancake Day, Shrove Tuesday,  Fat Tuesday, Fastnacht Day or Fausnaught Day!!!! Ash Wednesday is coming up, so be sure to stuff your face senseless today before Lent. Food has no calories today, because I say so...

No longer a child,  these sweet potato pancakes (latkes) are not the traditional pancakes we had when we were kids, but I have been wanting to make these for a while now. What better excuse!!! I always think of latkes as being Jewish so this really is an international post! Having a savoury pancake is totally acceptable in my books on Pancake Day. Latkes or "potato pancakes" can be made with any variety of vegetable, but for most people, the potato will always be at the heart of things. When it comes to latkes, a lot of questions come up before the first potato is even peeled. Thick and hefty, or crispy-lacy? Do you hand-grate the potato or process it to mush? Squeeze out the liquid or let it be? Par-boil the potatoes, or avoid the potato altogether and head for the unchartered wilds of zucchini with parmesan or yams with ginger? Can bacon be involved?

But all of these questions are nothing compared to the Big One. Which is, of course, OMG these latkes are SO GOOD why don't you make them EVERY NIGHT??? These are so good they don't usually stick around long enough for a photograph.

February 21 - 28

As we watched the horrifying events unfold in Haiti and reflected on how soon in the new decade thousands of people's lives had been destroyed, it was easy to feel overwhelmed. We talked amongst ourselves and contemplated on how best we could help those who desperately needed any help we could give them. We received a letter from Jeanne one of our members of BloggerAid-Changing the Face of Famine who set the wheels in motion with her dedication to a new project. As you know there is always much to do behind the scenes and plenty of co-ordinating to get any fundraiser started.

 The biggest hurdle was to choose a charity with an excellent reputation where we would be assured that any funds we raised would go directly to Haiti.  I think we have made an excellent choice since our charity was already on the ground and committed to helping the people of Haiti long term.

So from Sunday, February 21 - Sunday, February 28th, BloggerAid Changing the Face of Famine (BA-CFF) will be launching H2Ope for Haiti, an online raffle, similar to Menu for Hope, to raise funds for Concern Worldwide's relief effort in Haiti.  As clean drinking water was one of the most acute needs in the aftermath of the quake, we selected Concern Worldwide because of its long track record and quick response after the quake to provide clean drinking water and water purification tablets. Slowly the infrastructure is being rebuilt.

For full details and how you can help please visit our HOME page on BloggerAid-CFF as well as our donation page at Justgiving http://www.justgiving.com/h2ope4haiti . (A list of prizes will be available on the Justgiving site when we go live on Sunday, February 21st.) The prizes will have international appeal and the generous donators will ship anywhere. Justgiving will handle all of the money raised for our charity for us and accept all manner of payments including debit cards and credit cards.

We want to thank Jeanne who has been the key figure in getting this project off the ground. Each raffle ticket costs a minimal amount. As she says, "Although each person's donation may be small, even single drops of water will eventually fill a swimming pool."

Now on to the recipe...

**Curried Sweet Potato Latkes**
Print me....

1 pound sweet potatoes, peeled
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2  medium onion, grated
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon cayenne powder
2 teaspoons curry powder
1 teaspoon cumin
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
2 large eggs, beaten
1/2 or less cup milk (approximately)
Peanut or vegetable oil for frying

 Grate the sweet potatoes coarsely. In a separate bowl mix the flour, baking powder, cayenne pepper, curry powder, cumin, and salt and pepper.

 Add the eggs and just enough milk to the dry ingredients to make a stiff batter. Add the potatoes and mix. The batter should be moist but not runny; if too stiff, add more milk.

 Heat 1/4 inch of peanut or vegetable oil in a frying pan until it is barely smoking. Drop in the batter by tablespoons and flatten. Fry over medium-high heat several minutes on each side until golden. Drain on paper towels and serve.

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  1. We (tragically) never celebrated Fat Tuesday in my house. Which seems preposterous because who doesn't love pancakes! These look especially delicious. I love sweet potatoes and am constantly looking for new recipes!

  2. Delicious! Latkes are really great!



  3. We're skipping out on the pancakes, but we are hitting up Mardi Gras tonight!

  4. Oh my gosh-these look awesome! I think I'll be inviting a friend over to try these!
    xoxo Pattie

  5. The sweet potato pancakes sound so delicious with the addition of curry powder and cayenne!

  6. I have never had latkes.. but these sound good! And spicy?? :) Happy Pancake Day!

  7. These do look delicious. My husband loves latkes, but not sweet potatoes, which always bugs me. You have these so nicely spiced. Laissez Le Bontemps Roulez!

  8. Val, you are always very informative...great info on the pancake tradition. And the latkes look very delicious too. I have bookmarked it to try soon...

  9. Great recipe and a really important cause. It is vital that now it is not in the news as much, that we don't forget that these people still need our help.

  10. I'm always looking for new ways to prepare sweet potatoes. These latkes look so delicious, and I love the addition of the curry powder. This is a "must try" recipe.

  11. Val - these look great! Love the idea of the sweet potato and also the curry. I think I'm gonna try this one!

  12. I like your version of pancakes! I'll have these sweet potato pancakes any day over the buttermilk ones!

  13. I was seriously thinking of pancakes this morning and now I read it is actually pancake day...yeah, what an excuse!!!

  14. These potato cakes look lovely!

  15. Hola! I love how all ingredients seem to marry sooooo well here :D. I'm not used to cook with sweet potatoes, but this is such a great and flavourful recipe!

  16. This is such a great recipe! I adore sweet potatoes and I love them in savory dishes because of their added sweetness which is such a great twist. Wonderful latkes.

    My French husband makes crêpes but that's for Chandleur which is a bit earlier in the month I believe (I really never remember from year to year, I just happily eat the crêpes when he places them in front of me!).

  17. I love the great flavours in these!

  18. it makes perfect sense to me that, in this instance, fat and pancake are used interchangably. why, you ask? because if i ate all the pancakes (regular or potato) i wanted, i'd be as big as a house. :)

  19. Interesting post full of neat info! I obviously did not grow up with these traditions, but love to learn!
    Thanks for the recipe, another one to jot down with my favorite: sweet potatoes!

  20. They are beautiful but I wish I liked curry!

  21. i love pancakes, and i dont know if there is anyone that doesnt!

    i need to try these ones too!

  22. Gorgeous photo! I love sweet potatoes though I don't think I've ever had them in a pancake. I'd love to try these!

  23. These are the second latkes I've come across this morning - I think it's a sign that I must make latkes soon. I love your version!


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